The intricasies of the luxury market as attested through the beauty sector are unraveled into high-shine offices at corporate buildings. Yet, here at Perfume Shrine from time to time, we comment on those developments as a brief finger on the pulse of market tendencies, cautioning our readers on what to expect later on.
The latest news has Interparfums, makers of parfumes for Burberry, Lanvin and Christian Lacroix among others, announcing a 5% decline (amounting to 121,3 millions euros for the first semester of 2009 instead of the 273 millions anticipated for the whole year). A drop that is cutting the rise they had experienced in recent years. The case for Lacroix and his closing the house is of course well documented by now, with Bernard Krief Consulting a strong contestant till now and the recent Italian Borletti expressing a wish to buy it out. Even French minister Frédéric Mitterrand had expressed a desire to find a solution for the house, which during the 1980s had been one of the most influential in French fashion.
With that climate it makes for little surprise that there is a diminished interest in Lacroix perfumes; they were circulating through the Avon canal for a while, in a smart move to continue to be offered. Recent news however implicate Avon in letting go no less than 1200 employees, which bears ill forecasts on the future of Lacroix perfumes as well. Burberry represents 64% of the share of Interparfums and was looking relatively healthy till now, despite the 4% drop during the first trimester of 2009. They're even opening their biggest boutique in South-East Asia, the ION Orchard in Singapore, covering 815 square meters full of the British fashions of the historic brand.
Whatever the case is Interparfums and their head of affairs, Phillipe Benacin, are looking ahead at acquiring contracts with "well-known brands" and specializing at luxury. For some odd reason (or not so odd) the luxury market is withstanding the crisis, with Hermès opening their first boutique in Brazil next September, a project eagerly anticipated by the more affluent among the country's buyers. Then again, Hermès International has announced a turnover of even better than anticipated for the first semester of 2009! Their new Eau de Cologne collection is rekindling interest and they have salvaged their luxury image unscathed.
The succession of Jane Lauder, 36, of her father Ronald, 65 into the head administartion consulting of Estée Lauder and their successful Private Collection trio, of which the latest instalment, the lovely nouveau chypre Jasmine White Moss, is a commercial and artistic success, shows that the old American brand is trying to monitor their drop of 10% in the last trimester.
As we had previously discussed in our Luxury Market amidst the Recession article, the only way for something to survive in the middle-market is to change market-point and look upwards into the higher echelons and the raised prices. Jean Claude Ellena had said it succinctly: "If you want luxury, you either increase the price or increase the size" and it seems like the perfume market has embraced the concept.
Still, in an unprecedented turn of events, Dolce & Gabbana decided recently to down-market (so to speak) their upcoming autumn and winter collections, especially the more mainstream and Jeans lines, by supressing costs that would be trickled down to the consumer's benefit, reflected into the price. What remains to be seen is what happens with their perfumes line. The latest Tarot-inspired anthology although eagerly anticipated and publisized as the new "niche" line within a brand seemed to take a page off Chanel looks-wise, but didn't really ripple the waters smell-wise.
Fast-fowarding to the future of marketing for beauty and perfumes, the experts at Carlin International predict a greater meshing of the olfactive orientation, fusing elements of masculine and feminine not only in the composition of the jus itself but also in the wording used in advertising and the packaging of perfumes, as well as cosmetics. Natural tones and an urban feel will be the new direction with futuristic shapes: The curvacous and the straight will be manipulated into hybrids of andogyny in the design and packaging of products, new shapes that play with our perception (Is it a shaving brush or a pinceau for applying blusher? Is it a razor or a device to apply foundation?) to help market perfumes and beauty paraphernalia to what has become a wide, unisex market. A brave new world, indeed!